Ladapo’s report was used as evidence in vaccine guidance he released in October that came under heavy criticism from the medical community, which said the surgeon general’s stance that the vaccine posed a health risk in healthy young men was flawed and went against Covid-vaccine recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidance even prompted Twitter to temporarily block a social media post from the surgeon general promoting the analysis, though the company later restored it.
The inspector general’s office opened the investigation in November after it received the complaint and later closed it at an undisclosed date after the complainant didn’t respond to follow-up questions regarding the accusations, according to state documents that include a copy of the original complaint.
Nothing is known about the complainant, and anyone can submit a grievance with the Department of Health’s inspector general. But the individual appeared to have detailed knowledge of state health agencies, according to the documents the Florida Department of Health provided to POLITICO.
Ladapo on Wednesday called the accusations against him untrue and said the report in question was completed by a team of staffers at the Florida Department of Health.
“It’s factually false,” Ladapo said in an interview with POLITICO. “I trust the team — they used our Florida data, they performed the analysis, and we’re an accredited public health organization.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hand-picked Ladapo, a Harvard-educated medical doctor, to be his top health official in 2021. Ladapo has long questioned the safety of Covid-19 vaccines and at one point joined a petition to urge the FDA against quickly authorizing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Ladapo found a national audience early in the pandemic by writing opinion pieces in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today that criticized community lockdowns and the use of facemasks.
The November complaint against Ladapo asked the inspector general to speak with employees at the state Department of Health Communicable Disease Division, who helped write earlier drafts of the report that was eventually released. Emails were kept to a minimum, the complainant wrote, and notes were hand-delivered.
“You may not find these documents by email, as they get transmitted by hand,” the complainant stated, according to state documents. “But they have been seen by several individuals.
“Lots of people know about this,” the individual stated.
Ladapo, however, stood by his Covid guidance and defended his stance on vaccines.
“Between my scientific experience, and training and the fact that I am only comfortable saying the truth and speaking the truth, I felt completely fine with that announcement,” Ladapo said. “That’s what the data show.”
Ladapo said experts who have rejected his ideas are unwilling to face what he called honesty in modern medical care.
“It really strains credulity to try and write this off as being anything but related to the safety of these mRNA Covid vaccines,” Ladapo said. “I think people should know that it’s OK to believe what their eyes are showing them.”